March 29, 2013

"Let's start with you, Miss Elise"

If you are on Facebook and have a thing for science-related topics, you will not doubt have come across the page "I fucking love science," which has over 4 million fans. Last week, the biggest news item on the page was not about neuroscience, microbes, or strange-looking bugs, it was the identify of the creator of the page:  Elise Andrew posted a picture of herself, linking to her Twitter profile, and, yes, she's a woman. (This wasn't exactly a secret, but so far, she had never posted a picture of herself on the IFLS Facebook page.)

Suddenly, all hell broke loose. Andrew: "EVERY COMMENT on that thread is how shocking it is that I'm a woman! Is this really 2013?"

I also wondered if this is really 2013 when I listened to Gayle King interviewing Andrew on CBS: "Let's start with you, Miss Elise." Yes, ma'm.

"In Spanish, I should totally have paid attention"

...said Usher, one of the new coaches on the popular talent show "The Voice." Why did he say that? Because new judge and native speaker of Spanish, Shakira, managed to recruit singer -- and native Spanish speaker -- Cáthia -- for her team. Cáthia, who sang in Spanish, felt that Shakira would get her in a way other coaches would not.

It wasn't the only time knowledge of Spanish was showcased on the show. Tongue-in-cheek folk duo "Midas Whale" ('might as well') from Idaho impressed Shakira --and the audience-- with carrying a conversation in Spanish. (All four judges turned for them, but in the end, they picked Adam Levine, who so far clearly has assembled the strongest team, at times relying on interesting math, for example when he told Sarah Simmons, one of the most contested singers,  that she could win the show "150%".)

Edited to add:

The trend continues, but Shakira fails to take advantage of it. Contestant Karina Iglesias ("no relation") vows the judges with her powerful performance of "I'm the only one." All judges turn around -- except Shakira. When she discovers that Karina is Latina, she expresses her regret for not having pushed her button ("I want to die.")  Well, it wasn't so hard, as Karina pointed out herself: She sang parts of the song in Spanish. 

It seems that Adam Levine brushed up on his Spanish. He told Shakira to shut up -- in Spanish ("cállate"). In the end, which judge did Iglesias decide to go with? Adam Levine.

March 19, 2013

Shamrock Day

Once again, all eyes were on the Duchess of Cambridge at the St. Patrick's parade and on what had changed or not changed about her appearance. One thing that hasn't changed: Regimental mascot Conmael, the six-year old Irish Wolfhound, who also received a sprig of shamrock (unsuprisingly, shamrock is of Gaelic origin, expressing the diminutive of "seamar," 'clover').

2012 St. Patrick's Day

2013 St. Patrick's Day